#FitnessFriday: What to Eat Pre- and Post-Workout
Pre-and post workout nutrition couldn’t be more important.
When you fuel your body well, it sets your system up for a successful workout today and in the future. However, if you fuel your body improperly, you will not only decrease the impact of today’s workout but you will also have difficulty performing your best during your next workout.
The problem is, it can get confusing. What to eat? When? How much? Today we are going to talk food for pre-and post-workout. Supplementation is another discussion; there are fantastic supplement options to help you optimize your workout, refuel appropriately and ensure you’re getting the most from your workout efforts. But for today, what to eat!
What we do know is that eating before you workout improves performance, but it is not a perfect science. There is no “one size fits all” approach to pre-workout fuel.
The important things to know about Pre-Workout Nutrition
- Nothing too high in fiber, and not very high in fat or large amounts of fat in order to keep the digestion process going, or else you feel it in your gut when you are working out. A spoonful of nut butter is fine. In fact, many people really like this option and report it doesn’t feel like its sits in their gut.
- Some protein to support muscle health.
- Some carbohydrates for quick energy.
- Start small to assess how your stomach tolerates it
- Can be 1-3 hours before exercising, depending on your stomach and how you feel.
- If you workout in the early AM, you may not tolerate food before your workout and that's fine! Don’t push yourself to eat something if you don’t feel well. You don’t want to exercise with a full stomach.
Some pre-workout options
Note: Portion size might depend on your body size and how you tolerate food. So start small and see how you tolerate that food combo!
- ½ piece of fruit or 1 piece of fruit with 1 tablespoon of peanut/almond butter
- ½ protein bar; some people eat a whole one if they are exercising later in the day. For example, eating a protein bar before leaving work to arrive at the gym within an hour.
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast topped with 1 tablespoon of a nut butter, or 1 egg, or 2oz of turkey
- 2oz of leftover lean protein from dinner the night before, with a small portion of carbohydrate - ¼ sweet potato
- 4oz mini protein shake made light with unsweetened almond milk, berries and protein powder
Post-workout nutrition is the most important part of the puzzle in my opinion. Re-fueling your body and nourishing your muscles sets you up for success the next time you hit the gym. If you don’t nourish your body post-workout then you are setting yourself up for a poor next workout.
What to remember about Post-Workout
- Try to eat something within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Same goes for supplements, but 15-60 minutes is a good goal, and aim for that 30 minute target.
- If you are working out in the AM or after work, then this could work perfectly with using your breakfast or dinner as re-fuel*
- Carbohydrate + Protein together is important! Carbs help restore glycogen in your muscles and with protein synthesis while protein supports muscle repair and synthesis.
Post Workout Options
- If it is a snack it might look like your pre-workout but a bit larger. For example, a full berry and whey-packed protein smoothie with almond milk.
- A full protein bar. Make sure the nutrition breakdown provides both protein and carbs and isn't just carb heavy. Try to choose a bar that has at least 20g of protein.
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast or Ezekiel bread with 4 oz of turkey, and red pepper hummus; a pumped up version of pre-workout with bit more carb and a bit more protein.
- A post-workout meal should include adequate protein sources such as grilled salmon or other lean fish, eggs for an omelet, chicken, etc.
- Make sure to include healthy carbs that come from vegetables and then you can add a small amount of carbs from another source such as 1/3 cup of quinoa, or 1/2 medium sweet potato
Pre-and post workout nutrition can be overwhelming but more than anything it should fit you. If you need help tailoring your workout nutrition to your specific likes and dislikes- this can be done in a couple of consults; or via email.
Please feel free to reach out we can discuss both pre-and post-workout nutrition and supplementation!